TolA is an inner membrane protein with three domains: a transmembrane N-terminus and periplasmic central and C-terminal domains. The interaction of TolA with outer membrane porins of Escherichia coli was investigated. Western blot analyses of cell extracts with anti-TolA antibodies indicated that TolA forms high molecular weight complexes specifically with trimeric OmpF, OmpC, PhoE and LamB, but not with OmpA. The interaction of purified TolA domains with purified porins was also studied. TolA interacted with OmpF, PhoE and LamB porins via its central domain, but not with either their denatured monomeric forms or OmpA. Moreover, the presence or absence of lipopolysaccharides associated with trimeric porins did not modify the interactions. These results suggest that the specific interaction of TolA with outer membrane porins might be relevant to the function of Tol proteins.